17 December 2012

South Africa: Pens, Notepads and No Action

Photo: Presidency
President Jacob Zuma.


It was all very confusing. First, ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza arrived in the media lounge and summoned journalists.

We must hurry to the main marquee, where all the main conference processions take place, because the finalization of delegates' credentials was now on the agenda and this was a session which journalists were allowed to attend, unlike the proceedings earlier in the day.

After rushing to the main marquee to get seats due to the 200-seat limit for 850 media, there was another surprise. Gwede Mantashe demanded to know why the media were present. "This is a closed session, the media is not allowed in," said Mantashe.

We had barely sat down when we had to hurriedly pack up our laptops and put away our pens and note pads. ANC security then ushered us out, getting heavy with journalists who showed resistance.

We were then ordered to squeeze ourselves into a much smaller tent outside the main marquee. We were told to wait in this tent, which can only described as a giant microwave, with no air conditioners or chairs until further notification.

This is the latest incident in the series of misunderstandings that have occurred between the conference organisers and the media in Mangaung.

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